Explore the most popular birding trails near Mount Hamilton with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful train system that seems off the beaten path and not that far to drive from. Lots of ups and downs, and a scenic lake to start the hike. The scenery is diverse and nice to look at, and it really seems like you're away from anything urban. It's not spectacular, say like a redwood forest or hiking through a wooded area, but still really nice and recommended. There's tons of signs of critters from the scat on the trails and pathways in the brush, so if you go at dawn/dusk you'll likely see a bunch. I saw a juvenile coyote.

Excellent views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and an exhilarating hike through the oak forested foothills of Mt. Hamilton, home to the Lick Observatory.

trail running
4 months ago

Gates are locked at sunset!

Super dusty but not an issue for a solo person. Anti-clockwise worked well for me as I like to walk the steeper uphills. More shade on the final leg of the counter-clockwise loop but not by much.
Observed: two tarantula

easy trail to folloe. there is no water or anyplace to sit after you get past the lake so plan accordingly. I did not and it was painful

This looked like a nice day hike, so I attempted it in the CCW direction. The Yerba Buena Trail narrows down to single track, and I found myself dodging poison oak growing out over the trail. It soon became so thick that I gave up and turned around. I then went up the north side of the loop (Halls Valley Trail), which is a nice wide road/trail. The views were fantastic in April, with green hills and oaks, and a peek through the other side of the basin to Silicon Valley at the top. I came down the Los Huecos Trail, which was wide but very steep.

TLDR: Halls Valley Trail is great. Yerba Buana Trail is overgrown with poison oak and impassable. Los Huecos Trail is very steep.

I love this park. Its pushed back from the santa clara valley so you feel like you are in the wilderness. Few people are ever on the trail. Most of the trails are fire roads making it easy terrain to hike. The park is big enough to get in 15 miles and 3000ft or more of gain. A great place to train for the bigger summits in the summer.

trail running
11 months ago

If you don‘t like steep, make sure you do the loops clockwise, not counter-clockwise. Great views of Santa Clara Valley at mid-point.

Hot and dry. Totally empty of other riders. Beware wild pigs. Second half is trickier than the profile shows.

Monday, May 01, 2017

April 2017 // A wonderful hike with sweeping views of the Bay Area. In the springtime, you are surrounded by lush rolling green hills and grand oak trees. Very pretty. To the southeast, the Lick Observatory sits on top of Mt. Hamilton and to the west, Silicon Valley stretches out before you. Bring binoculars.

FYI, Los Huecos trail is steep going up! Not a casual stroll. Lol ;D From Grant Lake, it's easier to go up Halls Valley trail if you're deciding between the two trails.

In warmer weather, start early as it gets hot in mid day and there's not much tree cover. And bring plenty of water.

Happy hiking!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

This is my go to hike in the winter. You will almost certainly be alone out here. It is steep and there are cattle. Trails are almost all dirt roads making it great for novice mt bikers. Avoid summer it is just too hot and dry.

trail running
Monday, June 22, 2015

Last week we did the Rock N Roll Mud Run here at Joseph D Grant park. The race included some of the trails. The trails are quite the elevation gain! Be ready for lots of dust, and very few areas of shade. I think I would like to go back and do the trails as a normal hike.

Parking is $6.00

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Visited the park while out of town with my band and hiked up to a location called cave rock, one of the bridges was closed so we ended up taking a longer route but it ended up being about a four mile hike. The cave rocks were extremely cool and everyone in our group had a blast. Tons of wildlife, huge grassy plains, and tons of forested sections. Excellent hike.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It was an ok trail for me. The trails had some wet spots that created cracks in the soil and some trails had too much stones in it. View was good. Elevation was great, +- 1100ft.

trail running
Monday, September 09, 2013

Participated in a race at this location over the weekend and must say I wouldn't return for a race. The trails were VERY thick with dirt. With everyone trying to run it created a huge dust cloud which made it hard to see and breathe. I think it would be an okay trail to run alone but they weren't any marking that I could see about where I was or which direction to go to get back to the parking lot. The elevation was nice which made the trail run a little harder. Although the race started early in the morning, the lack of shade cover on most of the trails coupled with no wind made it hot!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Awesome trails and easy to hike. $6 entry fee per CAR and plenty of parking and easy to find your way around. No phone reception with Verizon or AT&T carrier, so we could not track our hike. Drive carefully to the hike, the roads are narrow and curvy.Bring plenty of water and get a map. We saw squirrels, deer, and horses there.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Joseph D. Grant County Park sits in the hills east of San Jose. Although the valley and the mountains to the west are often covered in fog in the morning, the east hills are always sunny and get a lot less rain. The hills are covered with golden grass and dotted with trees so be prepared for a sunny hike, bring a hat or some sunscreen if you plan to be out long. The hike I went on took me from the lower parking lot up to the top of the ridge and then across and back down through one of the many trails that run through the park. There are many trails and if hiking up hills is not your thing, you could easily find a trail that remains fairly flat in the low lying area near the parking lot. As I hiked along I spotted deer, hawks, and lots of ground squirrels. Although I would say the hike was moderate in difficulty you really have to be ready for a tough hike thanks to the heat and the dusty conditions. Did I mention the east hills were rather dry? Even at 10 AM it was already near 80 degrees and with hardly any breeze even at the top. Also, be ready for a long uphill climb, if you head up you'll have to go 2 miles before you hit level ground again. I didn't have problems except with the heat as I went up, I just took my time and enjoyed the view as I went. The views are great, at the top you can see the valley and parts of San Jose as well as the fog hovering over Monterey Bay in the distance. A great thing about the park is that on the two occasions I've been here there has not been anyone else. Not a single soul. If you hate crowds this park is great! But don't bring your iPod and tune the world out, this is mountain lion country and although I've never heard of any attacks its better to be safe than to risk an attack because you weren't paying attention. Be safe out there!

5 months ago

Load More